Why Are U.K. Fans Upset With UFC 95?

If you look at UFC 95 on paper it is quick to see that it is not the best UFC card by a mile.  I have heard it said that U.K. fans are less than pleased with the card so far.  I understand their feelings.  However, I am not too upset because it airs free on SPIKE TV.  I would be hesitant to spend $44.00 on this card.  However, let me say this: UFC 95 is one fight away from being a dynamic card.  The problem with UFC 95 is a lack of a main event.  Also, for many in the U.K. it may be the absent Michael Bisping.  Diego Sanchez’s lightweight debut against Joe Stevenson may be interesting, but it is not main event interesting.  Both guys are super talented, but not main event talented.  Co-main event? Maybe.  So, my theory is that UFC 95 is a main event short of being a great card.  Imagine with me for a second that UFC 95 featured a main event with a big name fighter that is main event worthy.  Then the televised portion would follow with…

2. Diego Sanchez vs. Joe Stevenson

3. Demian Maia vs. Chael Sonnen

4. Nate Marquardt vs. Wilson Gouveia

5. Junior Dos Santos vs. Stefan Struve or Dan Hardy vs. Rory Markham

If they find a solid main event UFC 95 would stack up against any other card.  Here is the importance of this:  The UFC has openly seeking to go international.  Their largest fan bases outside the U.S. are in Canada and the U.K.  They do not want to disappoint those fans.  Reward them for their loyalty.  Find a good main event.  See if you cannot bribe Rashad Evans to fight Quinton Jackson here.  See if you cannot get a Randy Couture vs. Nogueira fight chalked up.  Bump Liddell up from UFC 96.  Whatever it takes.  Dana White and Joe Silva must realize that the U.K. is the gateway to the European market.  Give them a better main event that Sanchez vs. Stevenson.  This is a better card than some will credit it for being, but it does lack a main event.  You can breeze by with a solid main event and a less than solid rest of the card, but a solid rest of the card without a solid main event may be tough to sell.

UFC News: Dan Hardy vs. Rory Markham at UFC 95

MMABay is reporting that British Welterweight fighter Dan Hardy will return to the Octagon against Rory Markham at UFC 95.  UFC 95 will take place February 21 in London, England and is expected to be headlined by a return to lightheavyweight for Anderson “The Spider” Silva.  In an interview with EuroSport Hardy spoke about fighting at UFC 95:

I asked for a tough first fight, and got one. I think the UFC realised although I was new to them, I was capable of dealing with top-ranked fighters and so they sort of threw me in at the deep end. I’d like to think they had a plan for me. I think the UFC realise my potential, but at the end of the day I have to get in there and win the fights. And they are all tough fights in the UFC as all the best fighters in the world are here. Either way, if there is a plan to market me like Bisping or if there isn’t, then that’s fine with me. My job is still the same; to go out there and beat people up. I don’t think that it means there will be any extra pressure on me; no more than I put on myself anyway. I am just going to pick guys off, one at a time. I’m not here to make up the numbers. At some point I want to be in title contention; how long that takes, I don’t mind. My first plan was to be in the UFC by the time I was 28-years-old, and I am over a year ahead of time with that. I want to enjoy my wins, take the time to work on the technical side of my game. Career-wise, I think it is good to space things out, to make sure you get enough rest between fights. I have always been an active fighter, sometimes taking fights as little as two weeks apart. But now I am at the UFC, the stakes are higher and I need to slow it down and be a bit more serious. Ideally, I would want to be fighting three or four times a year, and I have to make sure I peak at the right time for those fights.

Hardy won his forst UFC fight in a close split decision over Akihiro Gono.  Markham, an IFL veteran also won his UFC debut agaisnt Brodie Farber with a highlight reel KO kick.  This should be a good fight.  I was hoping for Markham vs. Paul Taylor, but this fight will do.

Breaking Down the UFC Welterweight Division

The Champion: Georges St. Pierre

The Top Contender:  B.J. Penn & Thiago Alves

The Next Tier:

·         Jon Fitch

·         Josh Koscheck

·         Diego Sanchez

·         Karo Parisyan

·         Martin Kampmann

·         Mike Swick

·         Matt Hughes

·         Matt Serra

 

On the Rise: 

·         Yoshiyuki Yoshida

·         Dong Hyun Kim

·         Dan Hardy

·         Dustin Hazelett

 

Other Notables:

·         Marcus Davis

·         Chris Lytle

·         Yoshiyuki Yoshida

·         Chris Wilson

·         Dustin Hazelett

·         Ryo Chonan

·         Dong Hyun Kim

·         Akihiro Gono

·         Luigi Fiorvanti

·         Dan Hardy

·         Jonathan Goulet

·         Tamdan McCrory

·         Kevin Burns

·         Anthony Johnson

·         Rory Markham

·         Paul Taylor

·         Roan Carneiro

·         Brad Blackburn

·         Pete Sell

 

Scheduled Fights:

·         Josh Koscheck vs. Yoshiyuki Yoshida at UFC Fight Night 16 on December 10

·         Mike Swick vs. Jonathan Goulet at UFC Fight Night 16 on December 10

·         Luigi Fiorvanti vs. Brodie Farber at UFC Fight Night 16 on December 10

·         Ben Saunders vs. Brandon Wolff at UFC Fight Night 16 on December 10

·         Steven Bruno vs. Johnny Rees at UFC Fight Night 16 on December 10

·         Anthony Johnson vs. Kevin Burns at TUF 8 Finale on December 13

·         Brad Blackburn vs. Ryo Chonan at UFC 92 on December 27

·         Marcus Davis vs. Chris Lytle at UFC 93 on January 17

·         B.J. Penn vs. Georges St. Pierre at UFC 94 on January 31 (For Title)

·         Jon Fitch vs. Akihiro Gono at UFC 94 on January 31

·         Karo Parisyan vs. Dong Hyun Kim at UFC 94 on January 31

·         Matt Arroyo vs. Dan Cramer at UFC 94 on January 31

·         Matt Hughes vs. Matt Serra April 2009

 

Match Ups I’d Like to See:

·         Dustin Hazelett vs. Chris Wilson

·         Martin Kampmann vs. Pete Sell

·         Thiago Alves vs. Georges St. Pierre/B.J. Penn

 

Other Thoughts:

·         When people talk about staked divisions they think of the UFC welterweight division.  The best welterweights are here.  There may be a handful of decent welterweights outside the UFC including Jake Shields, WEC’s Carlos Condit, Hayato Sakurai, Jay Hieron and Nick Thompson.

·         Jake Shields will likely land in the UFC.  That is what he wants and where he wants to be.  There are a lot of potential match ups here for him.

·         Thiago Alves will get a title shot in 2009 against the winner of Penn vs. St. Pierre.

·         Martin Kampmann signed a new contract and should fight at 170

·         B.J. Penn very well could become a fixture at 170 as he could vacate his lightweight title win or lose against St. Pierre.

MMABlog’s Welterweight MMA Rankings

Rank

Name

Organization

Next Fight

1

Georges St. Pierre

UFC

Penn (LW #1) 1/31

2

Jon Fitch

UFC

 

3

Jake Shields

EliteXC?

 

4

Josh Koscheck

UFC

Alves (#5), 9/25

5

Thiago Alves

UFC

Koscheck (#4), 9/25

6

Carlos Condit

WEC

 

7

Diego Sanchez

UFC

 

8

Karo Parisyan

UFC

1/31

9

Matt Hughes

UFC

Serra (#10) 4/?

10

Matt Serra

UFC

Hughes (#9), 4/?

11

Mike Swick

UFC

Goulet (NR) 12/10

12

Marcus Davis

UFC

 

13

Hayato Sakurai

 

 

14

Nick Thompson

EliteXC?

 

15

Brock Larson

WEC

 

16

Chris Lytle

UFC

 

17

Jay Hieron

Affliction

 

18

Dustin Hazelett

UFC

McCrory (NR) 11/15

19

Chris Wilson

UFC

 

20

Yoshiyuki Yoshida

UFC

Koscheck (#4) 12/10

21

Dan Hardy

UFC

 

22

Ryo Chonan

UFC

Blackburn (NR), 12/27

23

Akihiro Gono

UFC

 

24

Dong Hyun Kim

UFC

 

25

Luigi Fiorvanti

UFC

Farber (NR), 12/10

UFC News: Zuffa Buys IFL

It has been rumored for a few weeks that Zuffa was going to buy the International Fight League (IFL), now it seems offifical.  we assumed it was going to happen with several clues.  First, came the announcment that the IFL was for sale for $1,000,000 and that Zuffa was the leading suitor.  Then came the July 19th card featuring IFL fighters such as Reese Andy, Brad Blackburn and Rory Markham.  Also, during the SPIKE telecast of the UFC Fight Night 14 card IFL footage was used and talked about openly, something the UFC had not done before.  Then came the rumor that  the UFC signed Jim and Dan Miller.  Here is a word from IFL Senior Vice President of Communications Joe Favorito:

I apologize for this mass email but I wanted to take a second to let you know that as of July 31 my role at the IFL will be no more as the company goes into its final stage of being sold and/or closed down. We are very proud of what we did here in just over two years, building a brand from nothing into something that people in the industry and outside of the industry actually noticed, and I enjoyed working with so many different people and helped tell some great stories. At the end of the day sometimes the finances don’t make sense, but it certainly wasn’t for lack of trying. The good news is I think we have gotten all our good junior people placed in some great spots, so we are pretty proud of that. Even our interns landed in good places

That is nothing shocking.  Again, the focus now will be where do the 10-15 top guys from the IFL land.  There is some news on that front.  The IFL lightweight champion Ryan Schultz seems to have landed with World Victory Road, as he is slated to appear on their Sengoku 4 card, which is a lightweight grand prix.  That is a pretty good indicator that he will not land with Zuffa.  Also, MMAjunkie says that Chris Horodecki is in negotions with the American Fight League.  I am sure ZUffa will sign more fighters and they will go between the UFC and WEC.  I would imagine that means that the UFC will focus on Roy Nelson, Vladimir Matyushenko, and Jay Hieron, while the WEC has to crave Waggney Fabiano at 145 lbs.

UFC Fight Night 14 Medical Suspensions

These suspensions are precautionary more than anything and many times the fighters will be cleared to fight earlier with doctor’s approval.  Looks like at this event the winners took the bigger punishment.  Velasquez, Credeur and Blackburn especially.  Looks like Anderson Silva came out healthy and may be ready to go in September. 

  • James Irvin — Suspended until Sept. 3 with no contact until Aug. 19 due to a right-cheek laceration
  • Hermes Franca — Suspended until Aug. 19 with no contact until Aug. 10 for precautionary reasons
  • Frankie Edgar — Suspended until Aug. 19 with no contact until Aug. 10 due to a chin laceration
  • Jake O’Brien — Suspended until Sept. 3 with no contact until Aug. 19 for precautionary reasons
  • Cain Velasquez — Suspended until Jan. 7 due to possible meniscal/ligament tear in left knee (can be cleared early by an orthopedic doctor); minimum suspension until Aug. 19 with no contact until Aug. 10 for precautionary reasons
  • Anthony Johnson — Suspended indefinitely due to a conjunctival laceration in right eye (can be cleared by an ophthalmologist); minimum suspension until Aug. 19 with no contact until Aug. 10 for precautionary reasons
  • Tim Credeur — Suspended until Jan. 17 due to a right-knee injury (can be cleared early by orthopedic doctor); minimum suspension until Aug. 19 with no contact until Aug. 10 for precautionary reasons
  • Cale Yabrough — Suspended until Sept. 13 with no contact until Aug. 19 for precautionary reasons
  • Brodie Farber — Suspended until Sept. 18 with no contact until Sept. 3 for precautionary reasons
  • Rory Markham — Suspended until Aug. 19 with no contact until Aug. 10 for precautionary reasons
  • Nate Loughran — Suspended until Sept. 13 with no contact until Aug. 19 due to multiple lacerations
  • James Giboo — Suspended until Sept. 13 with no contact until Aug. 19 for precautionary reasons
  • Brad Blackburn — Suspended until Jan. 7 due to broken left thumb (can be cleared by orthopedic doctor)
  • UFC Fight Night 14 Fighter Salaries

    Anderson Silva: $200,000

    Brandon Vera: $200,000 ($100,000 win bonus)

    Frankie Edgar: $51,000 ($13,000 win bonus & $25,000 Fight of the Night Bonus)

    CB Dollaway: $45,000 ($10,000 win bonus & $25,000 Submission of the Night Bonus)

    Hermes Franca: $42,000 ($25,000 Fight of the Night Bonus)

    Rory Markham: $37,000 ($6,000 win bonus & $25,000 Knockout of the Night Bonus)

    James Irvin: $20,000

    Tim Credeur: $16,000 ($8,000 win bonus)
    Reese Andy $15,000
    Cain Velasquez: $14,000 ($7,000 win bonus)
    Jake O’Brien: $11,000

    Brad Blackburn: $10,000 ($5000 win bonus)
    Kevin Burns: $10,000 ($5,000 win bonus)
    Anthony Johnson: $9,000
    Jesse Taylor: $8,000
    Cale Yarbrough: $8,000

    Nate Loughran: $8,000 ($4,000 win bonus)

    Shannon Gugerty: $6,000 ($3,000 win bonus)

    Johnny Rees: $4,000
    Brodie Farber: $3,00O
    James Giboo: $3,000
    Dale Hartt: $3,000